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the pelvic floor muscles go into painful involuntary spasm and reduce the
size of the vaginal opening. As a result, sexual intercourse may be very
painful and vaginal penetration can often be impossible. The condition
varies in severity for different women. Some women are affected by
vaginismus to such an extent that they cannot insert even a finger or a
tampon into the vagina and may need an anaesthetic for a vaginal
examination. Other women may be able to tolerate a vaginal examination by a
doctor or nurse but cannot tolerate sexual intercourse.
What are the causes?
Vaginismus is usually psychological in origin and often occurs in women who fear that penetration may be painful. This fear may result from a previous traumatic sexual experience, such as a rape or sexual abuse in childhood. Another cause of vaginismus may be the fear of pregnancy. Anxiety or guilt concerning Intercource may also be a contributing factor to this condition.
Certain physical disorders can also lead to vaginismus. Inflammation of the vagina may make intercourse painful and lead to vaginismus. Some women develop the condition because they expect that Intercource will be painful after childbirth or that they will experience sexual difficulties during or after the menopause.
What might be done?